Dystopia, utopia, we still haven‘t learned…

Bannerless (The Bannerless Saga)Bannerless by Carrie Vaughn
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It was ok. I was really curious to find out where post-apocalyptic, dystopian fiction by Carrie Vaughn of „Kitty and the Midnight Hour“-fame would take me. And it was ok, nothing more, nothing less. Nice world building, nice character development, nice enough.

I liked the society she invented along that Coast Road and the idea of earning banners. Intriguing, even. I liked Enid‘s backstory and watching her becoming the person she is in the story‘s present. But that was about it. The mystery held little interest for me and the solution was meh. I could have put this book down pretty much at any point in the story and wouldn‘t have missed it.

The ending felt a little rushed. I will very likely not continue this series.

Part of this were reminiscent of the Book of the Unnamed Midwife.

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Bloody brilliant!

The Book of Etta (The Road to Nowhere, #2)The Book of Etta by Meg Elison
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Make me. I was made. I made me.

Wow. Just wow. What a great book. Deliverance meets Priscilla, Queen of the Desert meets Mad Max meets the end of the world. This deserves every price and award it gets nominated for. I was unsure if I even wanted to read this, after liking Unnamed Midwife so much. But this is probably even better.

The different towns with their varied societies, how fascinating. Awesome world building. There are so many plot bunnies for so many books here. So imaginative.

And horrible. At some points of the story I did not want to continue reading, because I dreaded what was coming next. The plot is like a train crash.

Loved the genderqueerness. Nonjudgmental exploration of what is or can be. Nice. The interactions between Flora and Eddy were great.

And then the so often stupid rules so many of the people in this book feel obliged to follow. Apparently we never learn. We just find new and different ways of screwing it up.

Not sure, what to make of the seemingly supernatural character towards the end. A little too surreal. The only part of the novel that I did not like and that probably has the potential to ruin the book for some people. But, besides that, I thought this book was bloody brilliant. Loved it.

“I give birth to guns. I bleed bullets. I was born to destroy men. Like you.”

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Bloody brilliant!

The Book of Etta (The Road to Nowhere, #2)The Book of Etta by Meg Elison
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Make me. I was made. I made me.

Wow. Just wow. What a great book. Deliverance meets Priscilla, Queen of the Desert meets Mad Max meets the end of the world. This deserves every price and award it gets nominated for. I was unsure if I even wanted to read this, after liking Unnamed Midwife so much. But this is probably even better.

The different towns with their varied societies, how fascinating. Awesome world building. There are so many plot bunnies for so many books here. So imaginative.

And horrible. At some points of the story I did not want to continue reading, because I dreaded what was coming next. The plot is like a train crash.

Loved the genderqueerness. Nonjudgmental exploration of what is or can be. Nice. The interactions between Flora and Eddy were great.

And then the so often stupid rules so many of the people in this book feel obliged to follow. Apparently we never learn. We just find new and different ways of screwing it up.

Not sure, what to make of the seemingly supernatural character towards the end. A little too surreal. The only part of the novel that I did not like and that probably has the potential to ruin the book for some people. But, besides that, I thought this book was bloody brilliant. Loved it.

“I give birth to guns. I bleed bullets. I was born to destroy men. Like you.”

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The best yet…

Nemesis Games (Expanse, #5)Nemesis Games by James S.A. Corey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Fabulous. I think I have a new favourite in the Expanse series! 5 stars with a cherry on top. Some slight spoilers ahead…

All about Holden, Naomi, Alex and Amos, instead of the usual introduction of a new host of characters never to be seen again.

And Bobby is back! And Avasarala, potty-mouth and all.

This is like pure gold for the fans of the series. No distractions of getting to know other characters or slowly diving into a complicated storyline. Just our favourite crew, with their odd-ball humour, trying to survive against mounting odds in a pretty straight forward action adventure story. Don’t get me wrong, the other books with their conspiracies, aliens, universe-spanning plots and amazing world building were fun, too. But this was a great joy ride in its straight forwardness and relative simplicity. And the action, twists and turns kept coming right from the start. I wanted to take breaks between chapters, but I just couldn’t, I was having too much fun…

My favourite stories were those of Amos and Naomi. Holden’s was fun, too, but more of a filler. Alex’s story interested me the least. Each of those plots easily could have been the basis for full novels of their own.

Waiting till next month for my fellow buddy readers to pick up the next book of the series is going to be hard…

*~*~*~*
P.S.: Reading the short story The Churn beforehand is recommended, it gives background on Amos Burton’s youth and characters that are relevant to this story arc.

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It’s the end of the world as we know it…

The Book of the Unnamed Midwife (The Road to Nowhere #1)The Book of the Unnamed Midwife by Meg Elison
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Excellent. Loved the stroy, although it depressed the hell out of me at times. The audiobook was extremely well done as well.

The main character waking up in a hospital and figuring out that the world has ended is a pretty tired idea by now. Nonetheless, the book started on full throttle and was great from the get-go. And horrific. By chapter three I had goosebumps allover and was close to crying. The story had an episodic feel to it, as it follows the midwife on her trip across the country, chronicling her encounters with various other survivors. Very graphic, with a realistic feel to it.

From chapter eight onwards there are other POVs strewn in, which I found a little jarring at first. But they give a good overview of the fates of some of the people she meets on her way and of the world in general.

The next book in the series sounds like a pretty different animal, I am not sure if I will pick it up. But this was definitely one of the best books I have read (listend) to this year.

The narrator did a smashing job. The various characters have very distinct voices and she brings a lot of emotions into it. I would definitely get other books narrated by her.

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Short, not necesarily sweet

The New MotherThe New Mother by Eugene Fischer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“The girls were spayed. That is the only word for it. Four sisters, the oldest five and the youngest barely two, with dirt-crusted fingers and baggy t-shirts, huddled next to a police van. They are identical in the way of twins; different sizes but, excepting perhaps some scars and birthmarks, their bodies are the same. The picture of them standing together next to the van is like a textbook illustration of early human development. And hidden under their shirts, carved low across the belly, the one scar they all share.”

I have read dystopian fanfiction, where all women on Earth died and what the repercussions of that could be. This is a different take, similar scenario — women can procreate asexually and essentially bear clones of themselves, without any male contribution.

Interessting idea and the author poses some fascinating questions to his set-up.

Winner of the Tiptree Award.

Story is available for free at https://medium.com/@glorioushubris/th…

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